How should I fix this banged up powerbook?
January 31, 2005 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I dropped my PB this morning (truth be told, I slipped down a couple stairs and landed hard), this time really badly. The top aluminum panel has a corner bent (about 2 degrees from about 2 inches in) and the bottom case is so badly bent and warped that I was astounded the machine booted up. More inside...

It seems to be functioning perfectly, with the following exceptions:

1. The pressure from warping is jamming the trackpad button in, so it's basically set to permaclick. This isn't really a problem since I have a BT mouse.

2. The optical drive will take and spin a CD, but has trouble ejecting it (cause of the warped case). It gets far enough out that I can pull it out with my fingers.

3. The screen has *slight* discoloration in an area the size of a pea in the menu bar (it corresponds with the location of the dent in the panel, so I'm guessing it's pressure). It's barely noticeable. The screen is also much more sensitive to pressure than it was -- pressing with my finger produces quite a lot of LCD distortion, where the same pressure produced nothing before (I'm guessing this is because the screen became unseated somehow and lost some strength).

My questions:

1. Is this something Apple will fix? I realize I would have to pay for it.

2. Could I replace the aluminum panels myself? I know I can buy the parts, but don't know if it's easy to figure out (or if it's cheaper enough to bother).

Anybody have any thoughts/experience?
posted by o2b to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
They'll fix it, but it will probably cost you a bundle. On the other hand, taking apart and reassembling the whole machine is likely to be pretty difficult.
posted by xil at 1:36 PM on January 31, 2005

You're in NYC, right? Take it to TekServe. They'll give you a no-bullshit answer.
posted by mkultra at 1:56 PM on January 31, 2005

I was at the SoHo Apple Store a few weeks ago, and the woman next to me at the Genius Bar had just dropped her iBook. They told her that it wasn't covered by Apple Care, and that they had some sort of flat-rate repair fee that was going to be really expensive. They basically suggested that she go to another service provider (TekServe was mentioned) and not immediately volunteer the fact she'd dropped the computer.

Once upon a time, there used to be companies that would sell Apple service parts, but I can't remember their names off the top of my head. You might try buying a dead PB of the same model and scavenging parts from it?

Good luck....
posted by subgenius at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2005

With the aluminium models all the internal parts are mounted to the base, so you basically have to remove everything to replace the bottom casing. It's probably not hard if you have the space and patience to keep track of all the parts. I'd say go for it, you can't make it worse. They'll charge you a lot for labour if you take in somewhere. And I wouldn't take things to Apple unless they're insured (is it? Household? Credit card?). In the UK they charge either £400 or £1100, probably £1100.
posted by cillit bang at 2:40 PM on January 31, 2005

Unless you're really, really confident and competent, I wouldn't try replacing the top of the shell, where the screen is. That's somewhere you can easily make it worse - if your screen doesn't already need replacing, breaking the backlight could add several hundreds of dollars to the repair cost.

I'm not sure how old the machine is, but do your repair cost 'homework,' and if you can make do with an external mouse/cd drive, etc, for a while, you might be able to find a suitable used Powerbook - new models were announced today, and those who have been waiting to trade up will be trying to sell their existing machines. You might also be able to negotiate something in the way of a trade-in with a dealer. Good luck, and I'm sorry this happened.
posted by stonerose at 3:35 PM on January 31, 2005

that's tragic. i also dropped my PB the other morning--PB side down on the kitchen floor. but it was doubly heart-breaking because i was late for work and already wasted three minutes toasting the bread. wait, oh...

not to make light of your situation; if i had dropped PB-style dollars on a PB and then dropped it, i too would be distraught
posted by mdpc98 at 8:05 PM on January 31, 2005

I remember a few years ago someone I work with told me she drop her laptop and she was able to get coverage under her homeowner's insurance?
posted by quam at 8:52 PM on January 31, 2005

Yes, but as many home insurance threads have mentioned repeatedly, only use home insurance as a last resort (i.e. house just burned down), since they tend to hike up your rates and/or drop you at a moment's notice.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:50 AM on February 1, 2005

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